New York City Events

When to go

If it's first-class international events and gallery openings you're after, the question is when not to go. Despite the fantastic atmosphere around Christmas/Hanukkah and the New Year, the weather is bleak and the winds icy. In summer the prices rise and the tourist numbers soar. It can also be oppressively hot. All-round great times can be had in spring (March-June) and fall (September-December).


Hardly a week goes by without a special event taking place in New York. In fact, there are some 50 officially recognised parades each year, along with more than 400 street fairs. Most of these fairs offer a rather unremarkable selection of fast-food stands, house plants, athletic socks and cheap belts, however, so don't go out of your way. Times Square's New Year's Eve festivities are probably the most famous in the world; less popular is the 5 mile (8km) midnight run in Central Park. On 5 January, thousands of children wander up 5th Ave, in a cavalcade of sheep, camels and donkeys, for the Three Kings Parade. The St Patrick's Day Parade down 5th Ave on 17 March has been held every year for 200 years.

In mid-May the International Food Festival clogs 9th Ave, while in June Tibetan Monks discuss transcendental matters in Central Park as part of Change Your Mind Day. The JVC Jazz Festival is also held in June, as is the free Shakespeare in the Park, where some of the screen's biggest stars do the bard in Central Park.

On 4 July, Macy's sponsors an Independence Day fireworks spectacle on the East River. The city's premier black neighbourhood celebrates Harlem Week in August, and on Labor Day over one million people take part in the West Indian American Day Carnival Parade parade in Brooklyn, the biggest single event for the year. The New York Film Festival also takes place in September. Macy's Thanksgiving Parade in November is always popular, and for more festive cheer don't miss the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting on the following Tuesday.

Public Holidays

1 Jan - New Year's Day
third Monday in January - Martin Luther King Jr Day
third Monday in February - Presidents' Day
Mar/Apr - Easter
last Monday in May - Memorial Day
4 Jul - Independence Day
first Monday in September - Labor Day
second Monday in October - Columbus Day
11 Nov - Veterens' Day
fourth Thursday in November - Thanksgiving Day
25 Dec - Christmas Day

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John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK)

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Visitor's centers

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For information on visiting New York, contact the New York Convention and Visitor's Bureau. You can also call them at 800-NYC-VISIT (U.S. and Canada) or 212/397-8222 (elsewhere). To speak with a multilingual counsellor: call 212/484-1222 Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm EST.

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